When I find an album to be a 'masterpiece' and yet it doesn't do great commercially, I always put it down to tough competition at the time. I'll have to have a look at what albums came out at the same time, it's the only reason I can think of to explain why it didn't get what it deserved...
@ezwriter: i almost want to agree with your assessment of kim's career woes. it makes sense on paper considering her eventual return to more rootsy instrumentation with 'view from the house' in '88. but i can not accept the notion that a woman simply "pursuing the wrong genre" could've crafted the synth pop masterpiece that is the 'voyeur' album. the very un-'bette davis eyes' dark atmosphere, songwriting and creativity on that album lead me to believe she knew exactly what she was doing. I'll never understand why it wasn't a success.
Kim Carnes was a country-flavored folk singer-songwriter at heart who somehow managed to score a huge synth-pop hit with "Bette Davis Eyes" and thus spent the next several years trying, largely unsuccessfully, to forge a career in the wrong genre. I don't blame her, a) she had/has a great raspy set of pipes that can sing any kind of pop music, and b) it's what was popular at the time. The 70's singer-songwriter craze was done, so she reinvented herself. Unfortunately, I don't think she was being 100% true to who she was as an artist, so the reinvention, though it made for some interesting and fun music, only worked commercially in the short term. A shame, because with her talent and looks, she should have been a much bigger star than she wound up actually being...but that's showbiz.
"voyeur" is such an incredible album. perhaps even the greatest new wave album of the early 80s. i still cannot fathom why it wasn't a huge success. it's a dark, nocturnal (but catchy) masterpiece. if anyone reading this only knows kim carnes for "bette davis eyes", i seriously suggest you check that album out. it's incredible.